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Business rates

Non-Domestic Rates, or Business Rates, are collected by local authorities and are the way that businesses and individuals who occupy ‘non-domestic’ properties contribute towards the cost of local services.

Business rates are charged on most non-domestic properties, like:

  • Shops

  • Offices

  • Pubs and Restaurants

  • Warehouses

  • Factories

You’ll probably have to pay business rates if you use a building or part of a building for non-domestic purposes.

Under the business rates retention scheme we keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. This means there is direct financial incentive for us to work with local businesses to create a positive local environment for growth, since we'll benefit from growth in business rates revenues. This money, together with revenue from Council Tax payers, grants provided by the Government and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided by us.

Further information about the business rates system, including what relief is available can be found on the Government website.

Business Rates bills are normally sent out in March of each year for the financial year that starts on the 1st of April. You can receive adjusted bills throughout the year if your circumstances change.

The bill will show how your charge has been calculated based on the rateable value of your property and the annual business rate multiplier set by Central Government.

It will set out how much your monthly instalments will be and when they are due to be paid. Ratepayers can pay their instalments over 12 months instead of 10. If you would like to pay your business rates over 12 months please e-mail

Please click here to read the Statutory Explanatory Notes issued by Central Government in relation to Business Rates.

Business Rate Relief Toggle accordion

There are various types of Business Rate Relief available which may reduce the amount you are expected to pay.

Small Business Rate Relief:

From April 2017 eligible businesses with a rateable value of £12,000 or less are entitled to 100% relief on their liability. Businesses with a rateable value between £12,001 and £14,999 will receive tapered relief from 100% to 0%. Small Business Rate relief is calculated on a sliding scale of 2% for every £60 of rateable value over £12,000 and up to £14,999. The table below provides examples of how this taper works in practice.

Rateable Value

% of Relief Entitlement

£12,000 or less

100% reduction















£15,000 and above



The relief is generally only available to persons who are responsible for one business or one main business.

Small Business Rate Relief is not awarded automatically by the Council – Businesses must apply for it by completing an application form

Charitable Relief:

When a commercial property is occupied by a charity or trustees for a charity, and it is used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes, the charity or trustees are entitled to mandatory rate relief of 80% off the full rate bill.

Community Amateur Sports Clubs

Sports Clubs registered with the Inland Revenue as Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC'S) are also entitled to 80% reduction in their business rates.

Discretionary Relief for non profit making organisations

St Albans District Council can at its discretion award rate relief to non-profit making organisations whose main objectives are charitable, religious, or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or fine arts.

Hardship Relief

The Council has a discretionary power to reduce the payment of non-domestic rates by granting Hardship Relief. The principle purpose of an award of hardship relief is to provide short-term assistance to businesses that are suffering unexpected hardship, arising from circumstances beyond the control of the business and outside of the normal risks associated with running a business of that type. The Council must be satisfied that the viability of the business would be threatened if an award were not made.

Revaluation 2017 Discretionary Support Relief

In 2017 the Chancellor announced £300m of extra funding for Local Authorities. This was to provide a discretionary scheme of relief to those ratepayers facing large increases as a result of the 2017 revaluation. The funding available to business in St Albans for each financial year is as follows:

  • 2017/18 - £248,790
  • 2018/19 - £121,000
  • 2019/20 - £50,000
  • 2020/21 - £7,000

As funds are limited for this scheme, the Council cannot support all local businesses affected by the revaluation.

Retail Relief

The Government recently announced that all retail businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 would receive a discount equivalent to a third of their business rate bill in 2019/20. Retail businesses includes shops, pubs, restaurants, cafes etc. For further details please visit

Transitional Relief

Business who would have seen increases or decreases in their Business Rate liability as a result of the 2017 revaluation may see that change deferred under Transitional Arrangements. For details of how this scheme works, please visit

This list is not intended to be exhaustive. For more detail please visit

If you think you should be eligible for relief and it is not showing on your most recent bill, please e-mail giving details of what relief you believe you qualify for.

Business Rates and Empty Properties Toggle accordion

Business Rates are not payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period, rates are payable at the full occupied rate, although there are exceptions to this rule (see below).

Please be aware that the three or six month rate free period applies to the property. This means if you buy or rent an empty commercial property you will be immediately liable for empty rates payable at the full occupied rate if the property had already been vacant for more than 3 months for a non industrial property and 6 months if it is industrial.

There are certain types of property where a ratepayer will be exempt from the payment of business rates if the property is empty, regardless of how long it has been unoccupied. These properties are listed below:

  • Empty properties with a rateable value less than £2900.
  • Empty properties that are grade 1 or 2 listed buildings.
  • Empty properties owned by charities and when it is next in use it will be occupied by a charity.
  • Empty properties owned by a registered with the Inland Revenue as a Community Amateur Sports Club.
  • Empty properties owned by Companies who are in Liquidation or in Administration.

An empty property where the occupier would be in breach of the health and safety act 1974 should they attempt to occupy it. In such circumstances the ratepayer would be prohibited by law from occupying the property and so no rates are payable.

Executors and Personal Representatives of deceased persons are normally exempt from paying business rates in respect of properties left empty by the person who has passed away.

The Council has discretion to reduce a ratepayer's bill if part of their property is unoccupied for a short period of time. The periods will be up to 3 months for non industrial premises (such as shops and offices) and up to 6 months for industrial premises (such as Warehouses and Workshops).

This list is not intended to be exhaustive. For more details please visit


If you think you are entitled to relief in respect of an empty property, please e-mail giving details of the property and the reasons it is empty.

How to Pay Your Business Rates

The easiest and most convenient way to pay your Business Rates is by Direct Debit.

If you wish to pay by direct debit you must complete a Direct Debit mandate.

You can download direct debit mandate form at the bottom of this section.

The mandate should be completed and returned to the Business Rates Section as soon as possible. You can e-mail a completed mandate to

You can also make payments online with a debit card by clicking on this link.

The Council operates an automated telephone payment facility for payments by debit or credit card for amounts of less than £4,000. This is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The number to ring is (0161) 7853880.

If you wish to pay your Business Rates by Standing Order you will need to quote the Council's bank details shown below:

Account Number: 01403818
Sort Code: 40:40:01

You will also need to quote your Business Rate account number, which you can find on your most recent bill.

You can pay by cash or card at the Post Office or any shop displaying the PayPoint sign using the barcode on the front of your bill.

You can also pay your Business Rates in person at the Council Offices during normal office hours by cheque, debit card or credit card using our self-service kiosk.

Finally, you can post a cheque directly to the Council Offices. Payments should be made payable to 'St Albans District Council'. Please remember to quote your account number if you send a payment by post so we know who the payment is from.